Kroger To Provide Free COVID-19 Testing To Associates

Grocery chain Kroger Co. said it is making free COVID-19 testing available for its employees, based on their symptoms and medical needs.

The company’s healthcare division, Kroger Health, will begin offering COVID-19 testing to associates from this month. Workers will be provided self-administered kits or an appointment at the company’s public drive-thru testing sites.

Kroger also said it has increased its investment in personal protective equipment or PPE and supplied protective masks to all associates.

The company has enhanced daily sanitation practices, installed floor decals and plexiglass partitions at check lanes to promote physical distancing, and reduced customer capacity limits.

Kroger is also investing in benefits packages, which include healthcare coverage and retirement benefits.

The company noted that it’s $5 million ‘Helping Hands’ fund provides financial assistance to its employees facing personal hardship due to COVID-19, including lack of access to childcare. Workers most directly affected by the virus or experiencing related symptoms are provided paid time off.

Kroger operates grocery retail stores under several banners, including Ralphs, Dillons, Fred Meyer, Fry’s and Harris Teeter.

Kroger and other grocery chains have remained opened amid the coronavirus pandemic as they are deemed essential businesses, even as other retailers have closed stores. Grocery workers are in the frontline as they interact with customers, despite the social distancing order and are highly exposed to the respiratory illness.

Kroger was among the five U.S. retailers to open drive-thru testing locations across the U.S. The company is providing professional services at the drive-thru locations through its team of nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and technicians.

In late April, Kroger announced plans to expand its drive-thru COVID-19 testing model to 50 locations in more than 12 states in order to perform up to 100,000 tests by the end of May. At that time, the company had already performed nearly 8,000 tests in 30 locations in Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Kroger had also launched a pilot for site-specific testing for company associates in Michigan and Colorado.

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